But that’s my opinion. The junk wax era was gaining momentum, and billions of cards (it seemed) were dumped on the market that year and into the mid-1990s.
That being said, Panini decided to bring back that 1988 nostalgia with its 2022 Baseball product. Crazy, isn’t it? The original came out 34 years ago. Does that make some of you feel old? It should.
There are some good features in the 2022 set. The first 30 cards of the 280-card set are the venerable Diamond Kings, and it has a very creative design. The left half of the card front shows the player in action, while the right-hand side is a small inset of the player, also in action.
As usual, I bought a blaster box. Those contain six packs, with 15 cards to a pack.
And yes, there are variations, too.
I pulled 36 base cards and a variation card of Kyle Schwarber that reads “Waltham” on his nameplate. There was also a base variation of Juan Soto (No. 225), where the card number is in the upper right-hand corner.
I also found a red parallel of Tim Anderson numbered to 2022, and nine Purple Holo parallels.
There were 13 Retro 88 cards in the box I opened, plus a Mike Trout variation that refers to him as “Millville Meteor” on the nameplate.
As far as first-year players go, I found 10 Rated Rookie two Purple Holo parallels and a yellow parallel of Oneil Cruz. Interesting first name, and it begs for an apostrophe. There was also a shiny parallel of Elly De La Cruz.
I’ve already commented on the Diamond Kings design (liked it) and touched on the Rated Rookies (it’s OK, I guess). Now, for the base set.
The card front sports a very busy design, with boxes all over the place. The Donruss logo anchors the upper left-hand corner, and the boxes utilize one of the major color schemes of the player’s team. The player’s name plate is in white capital letters with a background of the team’s color scheme.
The card backs are clean and use a cropped shot of the front photo that takes up a third of the frame.
The type on the player’s nameplate appears larger than the one on the front and is also white block letters against a team color.
There are either four or five lines of biographical type.
There are no vital statistics, but there is a two-line stat box. One shows the player’s 2021 numbers, while the second line shows career stats.
The backs for the Diamond Kings are bolder. There is no art, but the player’s name is in large white block letters and there is a generous biographical sketch.
The Retro 88 card backs include a white box with white text framed by a large olive-green box that takes up about 75% of the back. The remaining 25% has Panini’s disclaimer and logo.
I pulled five inserts from the blaster box, and they are foil heavy.
Unleashed is a colorful 20-card insert that features the player in action against the backdrop of a snarling bear. The set features established stars, up-and-coming players and Hall of Famers. I pulled Ryne Sandberg and Mike Trout.
Players are heralded for dominating performances. I pulled a Gerrit Cole card.
Trending features 12 cards of players who have come to the forefront of MLB. I pulled a card of Detroit Tigers pitcher Casey Mize.
And Diamond Marvels is a 10-card set that assumes a cartoon-like look at today’s stars. It gives off a comic book kind of vibe. The card I found from this subset was Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
Donruss was "marveling" at Guerrero's performance at Fenway Park last June, when the slugger hit home runs in four consecutive games at the hallowed stadium.
The 2022 Donruss set does capture the essence of the 1988 set. If that’s your idea of retro, more power to you.